Author’s note and warning: What to say...? O.o for once I don’t really know. Um.. Chap. 11 yeah... Oh yes! New character to mess with! Well, she isn’t new, just not in the story so far. Her name? Pluh, read the story. This story has violence, profanity, sexual stuffs *well not really, just saying that out of habit even if only one or two chaps. had anything really* and I think that covers warning stuff. All hail the chicken.
I’m going to be writing a E&B/New Order Crossover with Dalis Tauris, so please read that too when it’s done. Also with the crossover, for my part it’s gonna be much lighter than E&B. Almost like a parody. I’m itching for some humorous humor :P So lots of things in the crossover are going to be waaaaaay off then what it’s suppose to be. Just thought I’d tell you guys that. Of course, this is slowing down E&B...         Sonic, Sally, and Tails are © Sega and/or Archie comics. Telaros © Dalis Tauris. Randy Skylander © himself. All others are © of the [Zetallis Corporation].

Emerald and Brass Chapter 11
by Nin’nako Foxie
A Fatal Step: Continuation

        Water slowly prickled down, splashing onto the moist stone. A pool of water glowed a faint blue, the only source of light close by. The rest of the cavern was revealing faint hints of light, its day cycle slowly reaching dawn. A lone ship stood silent, streaks of crimson along its sides. Somewhere in the darkness, something tried to rise up but collapsed in the effort.

        Bzzt...”This is Beta 1 contacting Home Base. Over.”
        “This is Home Base. What do you have to report.”
        “Not a Ancients damned thing,” sighed Walt.
        “Err...repeat that?”
        “You heard me, Dan. Our team hasn’t been able to obtain any information on their plans at all.” He glanced down at the soldiers milling around several stories below him. “I don’t think they know either, mate.”
        “How long will you be staying?”
        “Only ‘till dawn tops, it’s far to dangerous during the day.”
        “Alright then. Anything else to report?”
        “No. This is Beta 1 signing out.” Walt clicked off the comm. link and sighed. several hours of sneaking around, pocking around, and listening around and their reward is nothing.
        “I could swear that no one knows what’s going on in this joint,” said Fang, peering through binoculars through the window to the conference room, where one of the Generals was sitting, idly glancing at some papers. “Even that bear doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing. Well I be a monkey’s uncle.”
        “What?” Walt asked, looking in the direction Fang was.
        “He fell asleep.”
        “Give me those,” Walt said, taking the binoculars and looking through them. “Hell, this is really weird. Arghh...I don’t like this. It’s like everyone is waiting and with nothing else to do in between.”
        Walt and Fang sat back on the stone ledge. “Sonic and Tails find anything?” Fang asked.
        “Not a thing, mate. They’re as fustrated as we are. Daria isn’t all to happy either. Apparently most of the soldiers are complaining from suddenly having nothing to do, yet not being able to go anywhere other than the a small area of the city.”
        Both abruptly took out their guns when the sound of beating wings decended upon them. “Damn it. Don’t do that, mate!” Walt snapped at the red skylander fox who landed beside them.
        The fox folded his wings and shrugged.
        “What do you want?” Fang asked. “Please say its a helpful tip, Randy!”
        “Well, I thought I’d help get a load off your mind and tell you what Chaonen said to his generals,” said Randy.
        “What?!” Walt and Fang asked eagerly.
        “He said, and I quote ‘hold off all attacks until I give the word the resume.’”
        Walt and Fang look at him in confusion.
        “Then he said ‘but have them stationed along the borders of rebel territory where it is most heavily guarded.’” Conitinued Randy.
        “He said that?” asked Walt. “How do you know?”
        “General Mannrix said so. He’s talking to himself in the war room. I t hink you should maybe eavesdrop a tad. Might be helpful.”
        “Sonic and Tails are in that area,” said Fang.
        “I’ll radio them,” said Walt. “Thanks for the tip, mate.”
        “Um...Randy?” No one else, but him and Walt were around. “Shot, he disappeared again.”

        Sonic crawled up to the vent looking into the war room. He was glad Chaonen hadn’t specifically built this place or none of the air ducts would have been big enough to crawl around in. Tails shifted up from the other side. They had a slightly obstructed view of General Mannrix, but they could hear him perfectly.
        “Ancients, Ancients, Ancients!” Mannrix shouted at himself, pacing in circles. “What am I going to do?! William is going to get us all killed!” He stared fretfully at the digital map in the center of the room. Several blue blips were moving away from the rest and heading south. “I can’t believe he’s disobeying a direct order from Lord Chaonen!”
        Sonic and Tails glanced at each other then looked back at Mannrix. Suddenly, the otter stormed into the room. “What in tarnations is going on here?! I’ve just got a message that William’s troops are moving South!” He shouted. “Chaonen will kill us all if he finds out! Mannrix, what are you doing here?!”
        “Nallab!” shouted Mannrix. “Good Ancients. William is moving all off his troops South. He’s going to attack despite Lord Chaonen’s orders.”
        “I know that, idiot!” Nallab snapped. “Isn’t it obvious?! The problem is what are we going to do about it?! I couldn’t find William anywhere, then I found out that he’s headed down there.”
        “How the the Hell am I suppose to know? He tried shooting me! Have you tried ordering the commander to stop?”
        “Yes, but I have no power over him about this sort of thing.” Nallab rubbed his chin in thought and glanced at the map. “Shit! Someone else is leaving too!”
        Blue blips were now heading North. “It’s Cornelius’ troops,” said Mannrix. “Now we’re really in trouble.”
        “William and Cornelius must be in this together.”
        “But Cornelius is still here.” Mannrix turned.
        “Where are you going?!” Nallab demanded.
        “To stop Cornelius before he leaves!” Mannrix ran from the room. Nallab followed at a slower speed.
        “Damn this back!” he muttered.
        “Sonic, did you hear all of that?” Tails said, astounished, when no one could hear them.
        “All of it buddy. I also turned on the link so Walt and Fang heard it all too,” said Sonic. “Come on. We need to meet up with them.”
        Walt looked back at where Cornelius was sleeping. “He’s gone!” He shouted.
        “Over there!” Fang pointed out. “He’s heading fer that small jet. That was a short nap.”
        “I smell a conspiracy or mutiny here,” said Walt. “Sonic, you there mate?”
        “Bzzt...yeah. Tails and I are headed towards you,” said Sonic over the com.
        “No don’t, follow Mannrix and Nallab. We’ll keep an eye on Cornelius as far as we can, but he’s headed for a jet. He’s probably making like William and heading for his portion of the army.”
        “Wait on a sec...” Sonic said suddenly.
        “Ancients damn it!”snarled Nallab. “Where is that bastard?!”
        “Officer,” Mannrix said, addressing a young fur. “Where is General Cornelius?”
        “He left a few moments ago for a small jet he called up,” the officer said.
        Nallab grabbed the officer, “Where!?”
        “G-g-21,” the officer stuttered.”
        “What is it mate?” Walt asked.
        “Cornelius is headed for G-21,” said Sonic.
        “Right you are, mate. We can see him from here.” Walt paused. “And I believe I see Mannrix on a hovercycle heading this way. Meet up with us as soon as you can, mate!”

        The officer saluted to Cornelius as he passed by. “We are fully prepared to leave.”
        “Very good,” replied Cornelius, walking onto the plane. I want to get out of here as soon as I can.
        “What?!” shouted Cornelius in confusion. He spun around just as an riderless hovercycle sped by, and a blur of fur landed hard on him, knocking him off the steps and onto the ground. “OOMPH!”
        He opened his eyes at the sound of a gun cocking. “Mannrix,” he smiled nervously at the barrel of the gun. “What a please surprise.”
        “Shut up and order your troops back to their positions,” snarled Mannrix. “Or you get a new hole in your head.”

        “Wha’ U means U leavin’?!” Oni exclaimed, hanging onto Metal’s legs as he dragged her across the floor. “WAHHHH!!! Mes na wanna Metal ta leaves!”
        “Oni, will you please let go?” Metal asked, looking embarrassed with all the people around them staring. “You’re making us look bad.”
        “Na leave! Na leave!” Oni shouted over and over. “Metal stay here wit us!”
        Metal finally dragged her to a quiet area and pulled her off his leg. “Look Oni. I said I wouldn’t fight Chaonen remember?” He asked, holding her in the air by her belt. Oni shook her head. “Well, I’m not going to and if I stay here, I just might get dragged in. Besides, I’m still a robot and I just don’t fit in though most people just assume I’m a victim from Robotnik’s time.” He finally set her down on the ground when it looked like she wouldn’t latch on to his leg again.
        “Mes na wanna U ta leave! Na one does either!” She argued.
        “Speak for yourself Oni,” Ark sighed as he walked up and smacked Oni on the back of the head. “Metal should leave if he wishes to do so.” He quickly stepped to the other side of Metal before Oni could hit him back. “So, where are you going?”
        “A small village somewhere I suppose. With my cloaking abilities I can blend in easily and maybe start a normal life,” Metal replied.
        “There are a lot of small villages you know,” Ark replied. “Any ideas in mind?”
        “No idea,” Metal smiled, shaking his head.
        “Mes can help!” Oni shouted, suddenly pulling out a huge map from her sleeve. She laid it on the ground and glanced over it. “Right deres!”
        “Huh?” Both Ark and Metal looked to where she was pointing. Her finger was placed in a tiny dot in the desert region. It was marked Sandnit.
        “Why there?” Metal asked.
        “Mes likies da namie,” Oni grinned. “It bes small anna secluded.”
        “I better get a quick over view of the village first, but thanks anyways Oni,” Metal smiled back.

        “I don’t want to be here.”
        “Let me out please!”
              “Chaonen! I’m begging you!”
        Socara slumped to the ground and started to cry again. Having not moved at all from the entrance, she was desperately hoping Chaonen would return and take down the barrier.
        A sound caused her to look up. “Chaonen?” she asked, she didn’t see anyone by the entrance. She looked towards the inner temple, but in the dim lighting she could see very well. “Is anyone there?” Getting scared, she gripped the pummel of the sword in her hands. Another sound, this time, is sounded like feathers rustling.
        Socara looked towards the sound. As she did, something black flew down at her. She yelped and ducked, but then it landed lightly on her shoulder. The black raven *nonanthropomorphic* looked curiously at her, cocking its head to the side, then began preening itself.
        “What?” she gasped, looking at the raven. “This is strange.” Slowly she lifted her hand up, and stroked its head. It cawed and rubbed its head against her cheek. Socara giggled and scratched it under the chin. “You’re so cute,” she smiled. “What are you doing in here?”
        It cawed once again, then hopped off her shoulder and flew deeper into the temple. “Where are you going?” Socara shouted after it. Shoving the pummel in her pocket, she ran after the raven.

        “Ancients, Barrocio sure was pissed,” sighed Fang. “It’s not our fault the enemy is messed up since their commander arrived.”
        “He’s always like that,” Walt said to Sonic and Tails. “Don’t take it personally.”
        “We didn’t,” replied Tails, as they were walking towards the mess hall.
        “I’m starved,” said Sonic, stretching his arms. “Getting some sleep wouldn’t be bad either.”
        “Hi Draca,” Tails said as they passed her in the hallway.
        “Hey, you guys are back,” she said, changing her direction so she was walking wit them. “How did it go?”
        “Not so hot,” Sonic said. “You know where Sal is?”
        “Yeah, she left.”
        “What?” Everyone looked at Draca for answers.
        “No, I don’t mean that,” she said quickly. “Metal decided to leave since he doesn’t want to fight Chaonen. She offered to go with him to a small village called Sandnit I think.”
        “Sandnit?” Never heard of it,” said Fang.
        “Well, Metal thought it’d be a good place for him to start over. Sally wanted to help him get settled, Oni insisted on going along, and for some reason Ark decided to go to. I think he said something about this place being to stressed or something like that.”
        “That slacker,” sighed Sonic. “So when are they coming back?”
        “Sally said in a few days. If it went longer she would contact us.”

        It didn’t take them too long to arrive in the desert region. The DFF could only take them so far, since they needed all the equipment they could get, but no one minded. The area wasn’t bad at all. Sandnit had ended up being on an isolated border of the desert. The scenary was mostly flat plains. Mountains and forests could be seen far in the distance. They were headed for the forest.
        “You guys really didn’t have to come along you know,” said Metal, “but I do appreciate it.” He was now in the form he had chosen to stay in permanently, though he could still do his normal robotic functions. The form was of an ordinary gray tabby.
        “Na probs Metal!” shouted Oni, shifting the pack on her back. “Oops, mes means Elhyam!”
        “How long do you think it will take us to get there?” Sally asked, looking at the forest miles away.
        “At our present pace, we would reach the forest by sunset,” said Ark, “and if we set out again at dawn, we’d reach the village in 6 hours.”
        “Time freak,” muttered Oni.
        “Grim Reaper in training,” Ark snapped back.
        “That wasn’t nice you guys,” said Sally.
        “Well, that’s what her t-shirt says,” Ark pointed out. Oni made a face at him.
        “This is going to be a long walk,” Elhyam said, shaking his head.

        The Shadow slowly opened its eyes. It lay there for several minutes before it believed it could at least get up. Chaonen was so badly hurt, it was taking a huge toll on the Shadow. It knew Chaonen wasn’t dead, but he desperatly needed help. Setting its mind on the task at hand, it set out to find help.
        It took in almost an hour just to get up the cliff, having to rest frequently on ledges. Finally at the top, it flew towards the entrance, weary of Ochrae in case the strange cycles of the cavern caused them to roam during the day as well. Most Ochrae were noctural creatures.
        But just as it was almost to the entrance, a wave of pain ripped through it. It cried out and fell to the ground, unable to move. Whimpering, all it could do was twitch. Just as it was blacking out, a figure came into its view. The figure gasped, and gently picked it up in their hands.

        “These trees are different from the ones in the Great Forest, I can tell you that,” said Sally as they entered the forest actually as the sun was setting. The trip had been relatively uneventful, other than ocassional fights between Oni and Ark, and nearly getting trampled by nonanthropomorphic buffalo.
        “We should set up camp somewhere,” said Elhyam.
        “Agreed,” said Sally. “I hope we can find a clearing somewhere.” After going deeper into the forest, Sally noticed that Ark and Oni had fallen unusally silent.
        Elhyam suddenly stopped. He motioned for them to be stop as well. “I’m picking up a heat source,” he whispered. “I think it’s a camp fire.”
        “It could be an unfriendly,” Sally whispered back. “Should we avoid it or check it out?”
        “Mes go lookies!” Oni whispered excited and jumped into the clearing before anyone could stop her.
        “Oni don’t!” Sally hissed, but it was too late.
        “EEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!” someone screeched, followed by several words in a different language.
        Oni looked curiously at the lady sitting on a small bamboo mat by a small campfire. Over the campfire was a pot of stew and a kettle of hot water. The lady herself was a turquoise-ish green asian type dragon. Her hair was pink by the top of her head and darkened to magenta-purple-then black at the end by her feet. She gripped a long stick that was for firewood, but looked scared anyways. “Wha?” Oni asked. “Mes na wanna hurt ya. Sorries mes scared U Miss dragon ma’am. Wassa in forest lookin’ fer place ta camp.” Oni smiled nicely to her.
        “How do I know you’re not some weird bandit?!” the dragon tried to shout bravely back, switching the language she was speaking to mobian.
        “Shards,” sighed Ark, as he walked into the clearing. He smacked Oni in the back of the head. “Can’t you do anything right? You were suppose to ask her nicely if we could share her campfire.”
        “Don’t hit mes!” Oni screeched back, and pounded him with a giant squeaky hammer. She gritted her teeth and tried to think happy thoughts when she heard the dragon giggling.
        “Well, you do look like normal travellers,” she said, still giggling. “You can camp here tonight with me. I don’t mind, but please keep it quiet.”
        “Thanks,” said Ark, dusting himself off. “We have two more friends as well. You don’t mind?” As she said it was allright, Sally and Elhyam emerged from the clearing.
        “Sorry about the scare,” Sally smiled.
        “No trouble at all,” the dragon replied. “Besides, I never get he chance to meet new people. My name in Gwuan Asia Ure.”
        “You’re name is Gwuan?” Sally asked, a little surprised.
        “Na, her namie issa Asia. People from Utai speak dere last namies first,” Oni explained, from the other side of the fire.
        “Oh, well I’m Sally Acorn. This is Elhyam, Ark and that’s Oni.”
        “Pleased to meet you all,” Asia smiled, bowing to them. “How did you know I’m from Utai, Oni?”
        Oni shrugged, “Na one else speak chinese ‘cept dere.”
        “Since when did you know Chinese, Oni?” Elhyam asked, but indicated that he was joking.
        When everyone was settled down, Sally noticed Oni and Ark kept lingering by the far side of the fire. At first she took no notice, until she noticed something beside Asia.
        “I’m an earth type dragon,” Asia was saying. “So I can sense when something isn’t right or when earthquakes will occur, etc. Though I’m not very good at it yet. My grandpa asked me to look into something in this region.” She picked up a cloak and began to sew it back together, since it looked like it had been torn badly in several places.
        “What’s that?” Sally asked.
        “I found someone badly hurt here... I’m not even close to being an adept healer but I tried to help him anyways,” Asia said, then she giggled. “I find him rather handsome too.” She continued to sew it back up, when Oni suddenly grabbed it.
        “Wah! Pretty lady likies U na should have ta mess wit dirty clothes likies dis!” she said quickly, stuffing it in her sleeve. “Mes go wash fer U ‘kay?”
        “But that isn’t mine,” Asia protested, quite surprised. “It’s-”
        “Oni! Don’t be so rude and give that back to her,” Sally said, interrupting Asia. Oni shook her head rapidly, insisting that she was going to go wash it. “Oni!”
        Elhyam looked curiously at Oni. This behavior was unusal even for Oni. The cloth looked familiar and he quicken scanned his memory bank. He abruptly looked at Oni in shock, then at Ark. Ark was still standing where he had always been, but behind him was what looked like a pile of blankets. He switched to his infrared. “Ancients,” he gasped. “Chaonen!”

        The silence was like a dead weight on everyone.
        “Out of the way Ark,” Sally said in a low commanding voice. Ark didn’t move. “I order you to get out of the way!” Still he didn’t move. Sally slowly walked up to Ark when Oni stepped in the way.
        Oni shooked her head. “Na,” she said pouting. Her eyes went wide when Sally suddenly pointed the barrel of her gun to Oni’s forehead.
        “Out of the way.”
        Elhyam and Asia were both to their feet. “What’s going on here?” Asia asked, she gasped when Sally pulled out the gun. “No! You can’t shoot him!” She ran to Sally and nearly knocking Ark and Oni out of the way. “You can’t shoot this poor creature! He’s severally injured and needs medical treatment!”
        “You’re protecting this monster!?” Sally shouted. “How could you all protect this monster after all he’s done?! I will not let this criminal slipped away unpunished for his crimes.”
        “We haven’t learned the hate him yet,” Ark said. His reponse was glare from Sally. She shoved him out of the way and finally had clear look at Chaonen. Elhyam grabbed Ark so he couldn’t interfere. Chaonen was barely recognizable with all the blood stained bandages. Half his face was covered and one would assume much of his body as well. A trickled of blood came from his mouth and his breathing was very laborious despite him being unconcious. The Shadow was laying beside his head, when it saw Sally, it immediately got up and started hissing fiercely as it possibly could in its condition.
        “What happened to him?” Sally asked, shocked.
        “I found his pet in a cave close by, it lead me to him,” Asia said. “He’s was laying nearly dead at the bottom of a steep cliff.”
        Sally looked at the Shadow defending his master with all of its strength. She cocked then aimed the gun and fired.
        Socara screamed when something suddenly leaped out of nowhere and slashed her in the arm. She fell backwards onto the ground. The thing leaped back into the shadows. The raven landed gently on Socara’s arm and peered at her wound.
        “I’m okay,” she said, slowly getting up. “But what was that?” She carefully took another step forward.
        The thing stepped into the light as she moved forward. Socara gasped when she saw what it was. It was herself...

        The shot echoed for a moment. Elhyam could have sworn he had been gripping Ark’s arm securely.
        Sally was looking at the end of her gun where the staff had tilted it slightly upward at the last second. She had missed. Ark calmly reached forward and took the gun from her hand. “That’s another strike, Ark,” Sally growled.
        “Good for me,” Ark grinned, removing the bullets, then handing the gun back pummel first.
        “Argh, u always have ta do dese thin’s last second don’t ya?” Oni muttered. She made a face when Ark grinned at her too. Oni glanced at Asia who looked like she was in shock.
        “Y-y-you tried to shoot him,” she stuttered. “All of you don’t seem like normal travellers to me!”
        Ark sighed, Oni muttered ‘oh greaaaaat’, Sally grinned nervously, and Elhyam just kind of stood there. “Well,” Sally began, “I suppose we owe you an explanation.”

        “I guess that’s better than weird bandits,” Asia commented, after Sally gave a quick overview of who they and Chaonen was. “Why is the first guy I fall for some evil overlord?” :*( She glared at Sally. “That’s still no reason to shoot him. After all, he doesn’t sound so bad to me and those two seem to want him alive.”
        Oni and Ark looked embarrassed when Sally turned her gaze to them. “Yes, why is that?”
        “Um...wellz...”started Oni. “Chaonen da...”
        “Only one who can tell us where Soca-chan is,” Ark finished.
        “Good point,” said Elhyam, “but he doesn’t look like he’ll be waking up anytime.” Everyone glanced at Chaonen. “I think we should all get some rest and discuss this in the morning. This night has been rather taxing in my opinion.”
        Everybody agreed on the suggestion.

        Hours later.
        Ark sat up and yawned, stretching his arms above his head. He fumbled around in his pouch and withdrew a medium sized bottle. He shook it slightly to see how much liquid was left. Not much. Carefully, Ark stepped over Sally, then sat down beside Chaonen. He lifted the blanket and poured some of the liquid onto his chest. It glowed for a moment, then a few minutes later, Chaonen’s breathing seemed to come easier. Checking again to see how much was left, Ark tilted Chaonen’s head back and poured the rest of it down his throat.
        A chirp-like sound caught his attention. It was Chaonen’s Shadow. Ark leaned down so he was looking almost eye level to it. “Look, I’m only doing this for Soca-chan,” he whispered. “Got that?”
        “What are you doing?!” came a quiet whisper. Ark turned his head to see Asia.
        “You ought to be asleep,” Ark whispered.
        “Well, what about you?” Asia whispered back, sitting next to him. “I’m a late sleeper. Oh, Chaonen’s breathing looks better.”
        “Whatcha know, me too,” grinned Ark. He suddenly leaned so close to her face that he was only a few centimeters away. “Looks like we have something in common.”
        “Stop that,” Asia blushed. “You’re creeping me out.”
        Ark looked at her through one eye, which she could have sworn looked demonic in the night. He held up the empty bottle. “Some healing potion I had left,” he yawned. “Whatever, I’m going to sleep. I don’t think I get to sleep in this time.”
        Asia looked at all the people asleep around her. Elhyam was alright, he seemed polite. Sally must have been great once, she held a regal feel around her. Ark creeped her out, but there was something about him. Oni...she didn’t know what to think about Oni. This is silly, Asia thought to herself. I wish I was used to being around new people.
        Socara stared in shock at herself, or at least something that looked exactly like her. The thing stood a distance away, dark shadows covering its eyes. It grinned, then held up a weapon that looked like her own. A blade of energy shot out from the crystal. Then it attacked. Socara shrieked and threw herself out of the way, causing the pummel of her sword to fall out of her pocket. The thing gathered itself together again and leaped at her when suddenly a fury of feathers went at its face. It tried to knock the raven out of the way but the raven kept out of its reach.
        “Stop that!” Socara yelled at her ‘twin.’ She growled and launched herself at the thing in rage, picking up the sword on the way. The blade formed at her will. Before she knew it, she was already on the other side of the thing. Whirling around, she attacked it again.

        “WAKIE WAKIE!!!!” Oni shouted gleefully. “It’s a cloudy day taday!!”
        “You like cloudy days?” Asia asked, stretching.
        “Cloudy days are kewlie! So ares sunny days, anna does days dat kinda half anna half,” Oni laughed. n.n
        “Just ignore her,” Ark muttered, covering his head with his cape that he’d been using as a blanket. “She’s not always like this.”
        “Thank goodness,” said Asia. She turned to Oni. “So what are you so excited about?”
        “’Cuz we get ta find Soca taday!” Oni grinned. “Mes na see her fer longs timie! OWWWW!”
        Ark grumbled some more and smacked her again with his staff. “You idiot, she was echidnapped. Of course you haven’t seen her!”
        “Na hitz mes U meanie!!” Oni shouted back.
        “This happens all the time,” Sally said to Asia. “Just stay out of there way.” A backpack went flying by. “And watch out for flying objects.”
        “Oh my,” Asia replied.
        “Shards, can’t a guy suffer in peace?” came another voice with some effort.
        “Nutz ta U Chaonen!” Oni snapped and chucked a small missile at Ark.
        “What the Hell?! Since when did you start carrying heavy artillery?!” Ark yelled. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to throw missiles?!”
        “U wanna get hit by a nuke?!”
        Ark went pale and shook his head. “Damn it, she’d do it too...”
        O.O “Ack!” Oni shouted, she suddenly turned around. “Err...ignore wha’ mes said ta U Chaonen, ‘k?” She tried to smile nicely.
        “Just tell me where the Hell I am and what happened,” Chaonen sighed heavily, closing his eyes again.
        “About time you woke up,” said Sally, standing over him. “Where’s Socara?”
        Chaonen didn’t even bother to look at her. “On an errand. Now go away.”
        “As you can see, you’re not in the position of making the demands,” Sally replied, keeping her cool. “Where is she?”
        The Shadow hissed at her. “Also, as I hope you can see, Chaonen-daimyou is not in the position to do anything about Socara-hime.”
        “You can talk?!”
        “How do you feel, sir?” Asia asked softly, kneeling down beside Chaonen. “I didn’t think you would regain consciousness this soon. Oh, don’t worry, you’ve only been out for a little over a day.”
        Chaonen opened his eyes again and looked at Asia. “I’m Gwuan Asia Ure. Asia’s my first name. I found you severly hurt near here, so I sort of rescued to you,” she said, looking at her own hands and blushing slightly. “You shouldn’t talk though. You’re still in critical condition I think.”
        He looked blankly at her for a moment. He sat straight up before Asia could stop him, shouting in panic in a strange tongue. Almost immediately falling back, writhing in pain and coughing up a large amount of blood.
        “Oh my!” Asia shrieked, trying to help him but having no idea how.
        Oni and Ark abruptly stopped fighting. “Wow, they’re not trying to kill each other anymore,” Elhyam commented.
        “Wha-wha’ he sayz?” Oni asked in almost a whisper. Ark gritted his teeth and unconciously stepped back.
        “What’s going on?” Sally asked. “What did he say?”
        Ark stalked up to Chaonen and grabbed him by the shirt. “What did you say?” Ark asked in a low voice.
        “I don’t know,” Chaonen replied, barely concious. “I really don’t know. But...Socara...”
        “You took her to some remote area with those things?!” Ark screamed at him in rage. Asia grabbed his arm, yelling at him to let go. “You LEFT her there?!”
        “Chaonen-daimyou did not intend to leave her!” the Shadow screeched. “It was not Chaonen-daimyou’s choice!”
        “Den show U show us where Soca iz!” Oni demanded. The Shadow looked reluctant, until Ark pulled out a gun and pointed it straight at Chaonen’s head. “Wellz?”
        “Agreed, but what of Chaonen-daimyou?” it asked.
        “He’s coming along of course,” Ark said again with his usual grin.

        She leaned against the wall and slowly slid to the ground, exhausted. The raven cawed and hopped onto her shoulder again. It looked curiously at the long slash on her cheek.
        “Is it gone?” Socara asked, even though she had seen it ‘die.’ The raven nodded. “You’re so smart, understanding everything I say...”

        Everyone gasped in amazement as they entered the inner parts of the cave. The majesty was almost overwhelming.
        “Oh my gosh,” Asia gasped in awe. “This is so beautiful.” Ark gave a whistle of astonishment. Oni took a few pictures.
        “Where did you get that camera?” Elhyam asked, confused. Oni giggled and stuffed it back in her sleeves.
        She leaned down so she was almost eye level with Chaonen, who was on a makeshift stretcher between Ark and Elhyam. “Errr...Chaonen...?” Oni waved a hand infront of his eyes. “Ya hooo, Mobius ta Chaonen.” She snapped her fingers a few times. “Merrfffff....?”
        “Looks like he passed out again,” said Sally, glancing at Chaonen in disgust. “Is that what I think it is?” She gasped as they walk much farther into the cave. A head was what looked like the ancient ruins of a once magnificent temple, though even now it was still a sight to see.
        “Odd...” Elhyam murmered. As they walked on, traces of blood could be seen on the ground and rocks. Some of the blood streaks looked like something had been dragged away. Ark whistled again in astonishment when they came upon Chaonen’s jet. Though now it too had been blood splattered. A dagger was lying on the ground nearby. “What happened here?”
        “I don’t think I want to know,”shuddered Asia. “Oh, I do hate the sight of blood.”
At the entrance of the temple, she looked oddly at the thing that seemed to be blocking the entrance.
        “What dat?” Oni asked, reaching out ta touch it.
        “No, don’t!” Chaonen suddenly shouted, trying to grab her but he wasn’t close enough. Oni screamed from the pain of the magic energy ripping through her body until she was finally flung backwards on the ground.
        “Oni!” Elhyam and Asia shouted in unison. The ran to her asking if she was okay.
“She’s just unconcious,” Asia said with some relief.
        “Since you seem to know about this,” Sally said, looking directly at Chaonen. “What is it?”
        It took Chaonen a few moments to respond, after the forced effort of trying to stop Oni. “A shield.”
        “Of yours?” Chaonen nodded. “Why?” He looked at her, then said. “You wouldn’t want to know...”
        “Soca-chan’s in there, isn’t she?” Ark said, speaking up. “So that’s what you needed her for...”
        “What are you talking about, Ark?” Sally asked. Behind her, Oni was slowing regaining conciousness.
        “Why would she agree to obey you?” Ark asked in a menacing voice.
        Chaonen smiled a twisted grin. “Because she is mine...” Ark narrowed his eyes. “All mine...mind, body and soul. I own her...” He laughed coldly. “Didn’t the others tell you?”
        “Tell us wha’?” Oni asked, rubbing her hand. She looked at Sally for answers, but Sally had suddenly looked scared. “Sally?”
        “Elhyam?” Ark asked, looking at him.
        “Leave me out of this,” he said. “I have nothing to do with it.”
        “Do you know why you’re still alive, Sally?” Chaonen said in a low whisper. “You’re worthless, you couldn’t do a thing against my reign. You’re minds are still in the past with Robotnik and you’re worth as dead as him. I left you alive so she would always be mine...lives for one I enjoy more then all of yours together.”
        “Shut up, you bastard,” Sally hissed. “She is not yours. You can’t own a living thing! I could kill you right now, so I wouldn’t be saying these things.”
        “Wha’ is goin’ onz here?!” Oni shouted in fustration, unable to understand the situation. “Mes wanna know!”
        “She sacrificed herself to save the others during some incident, those years ago, yes?” Ark said, turning back towards the temple.
        “Bravo, Ark, my friend. Brilliant deduction,” Chaonen smirked, lightly clapping his hands together. Ark fell over but got back up.
        “Take down the shield, we’ll discuss this later,” he said slowly Damn it! I didn’t want to be right!
        “I don’t have the strength left,” Chaonen said, sighing from the effort of just speaking so much, though he was quite please with himself.
        “Calm blue oceans, no need for guns, calm blue oceans, no need to burn anything...” Ark muttered to himself under his breath, “...calm blue oceans.”
        “’ wez do nowz? Oni asked. She looked back at the temple and rolled up her large, long sleeves. “Hmmmmm, most ruins have anda wayz inz.”
        “Makes sense, but how would you know, Oni?” Elhyam asked.
        “She raids them all the time,” muttered Ark.
        “Mes do notz! Mes a ruin explorer! Anna finderz keeperz!” She snapped at Ark. “Ifz U know so much why don’t U figure a wayz inz.”
        “Ha! Not like it would do me much good. I’m a guy you idiot.”
        “Wha’ dat gotta do wit itz?!”
        “Can’t you read?! Arghhhhh, shards. Inscriptions on the side basically say that only females may enter,” he said, grabbing her and pointing her head in the right direction.
        “Oh...weeeellllzzzz....BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Guys are worthless!!! Heehee!” Oni laughed making faces at him and laughing some more. Ark twitched and fell over again. “Baka baka baka Ark!”
        Ark suddenly jumped to his feet, grabbed her by the collar and threw her full force at the shield. Oni yelped in surprise immediately covering her head.
        “AHHHHHHH~” Sally and Asia shouted there dismay, which were cut off abruptly. Oni uncovered her head and looked around. She looked over her shoulder in shock. “WHA’????!!!! How mes get on dis side?”
        “See, I did figure something out,” Ark smirked. Oni stuck her tongue out at him.
        “Hmph! Mes gonna find Soca!” she said, running into the depths of the temple.

        “ you can see, the enemy has withdrawn once again. We believe that they were about to launch an attack, but their re-enforcements never arrived. Everything has gone back to a standstill. With spy reports, it would seem that Chaonen is not within contact of his troops. I repeat, not in contact. This is ideal time to launch a series of attacks while the enemy is idle and not as well organized as they are usually due to the confusion of this desertion of a quarter of the army,” the commander of the Rebel army said to the generals, all of which were sitting in a semicircle around a several large screens.
        “But from spy reports, it would appear that the enemy is still quite prepared due to previous orders,” commented one of them.
        “Yes, and what if this is another trick? We have been tricked on several ocassions, which have proved to be quite devastating on our resources,” said another. There were murmers of agreeement.
        “I do not believe this is the case in this situation though,” said the commander. “By these same spy reports that I alone recieved, two of Chaonen’s generals have every intent on following those orders. I have never understood why or want to, but at this moment, they fear for their lives.”
        “What?!” several generals shouted. “Why is this?”
        “Obviously, Chaonen had for some reason commanded his troops to be ready to leave at any time, but stay inactive until he gave a command. With a certain incident where General Mannrix threatened General Cornelius at gun point to call back his troops, it would seem the generals themselves do not know the reasons for this order.”
        “A very odd situation,” said the first general. “Then this would be an ideal time to attack. Something that would be a devastating blow.”
        “Perhaps Chaonen has finally become too overconfident,” a general commented.
        “This is the precise reason I have called you here gentlemen,” the commander said, tapping a few buttons. Several maps appeared on the screens. “We have much planning to do with limited time.”

        Socara noticed several odd things as she walked on. One she noticed that the place was huge, several corridors lead away from the main hall, if you could call it that. Two, was that she would have expected more “security.” Three, the lighting was getting better. Four, more security.
        If she wasn’t so scared about the place, she would have had time to apreciate thet beautiful design of the temple itself. The raven sat had her shoulder, quite calm. Ocassionally, it would look in a certain direction or at a point for an extended period of time until they passed it. At other times it would groom itself.

        Oni wasn’t having fun. In her mind, the temple didn’t like her, much like her computer. Apparently the temple had decided to make her visit a living hell with onslaughts of traps.
        “EEyyyaaaaahhhhh!!!” Oni screamed while ducking, dodging, bypassing, jumping, sprinting, diving, leaping, fleeing, rolling, evading, flying, and dowright running from the two gazillion traps all out to get her. She fell face down beside a fountain, totally exhausted. Of course, this rest didn’t last long when a serpent grabbed her from the fountain. “AHHHHHH!!!” she yelled, kicking it in the head, then running like Hell.

        Ark on the other hand was having lots of fun, as the others wondered why he was using binoculars while looking at the depths of the temple and laughing like a maniac.

        The door ahead was magnificent. She wasn’t sure why it was. It didn’t have any things like jewels or gold, no intricate designs, but it just radiated that whatever was behind it was important. “Whacky place this be,” muttered Socara. She walked up to the door and pushed against it. At first it didn’t budge, but then slowly began to open.
        Inside she covered her mouth in awe. “Wow...” The room was huge and circular. A path way lead over the water that made the floor which shimmered from some unknown light, casting wonderful images against the wall. The room was a bit dim like a pond in the moon light. Small pillars projected from the water. In the center of the room was a pedestal which a dew steps lead up to.
        Socara slowly walked up to it. As she got closer, she could see a disk like object floating above it. It was spinning slow and glowing soflty. That must be it, she thought. She was so focused on the object, that she didn’t notice two dark shadows forming below the water. Just as she ascended the first step. Water erupted on both sides of her. The massive heads of two water dragons emerged in a fury, only their heads and necks visible above the water. They both turned towards Socara.
        “Ancients,” she gasped, stumbling backwards. All of them stood there for several moments, till the two dragons caught sight of the raven. Socara had no idea what was going on. Why aren’t they attacking?

        Oni leaned heavily against the doors, catching her breath again. Noticing that they were open, she peeped inside. “Soca!!”
        “Oni?!” Socara shouted, whirling around. The two dragons suddenly roared in fury and lunged at Oni. Oni jerked back, but then leaped into the air and over the first dragons head as it hit were she was just standing. She hit the path, and stumbled, but was back on her feet in a split second. The second dragon lunged at her again, but she dodged.
        Socara grabbed the disk, shoved it into her pocket and ran towards Oni. “Ada way!” Oni shouted, grabbing her arm and pulled her back towards the pedestal. Behind them, the two dragons were tearing up the path on their rampage.
        “How are we going to get out now?!” Socara shouted above their roaring.
        “Uh... still thinkin’,” Oni replied, grinning embarrassingly. “OooO! Mes knowz! Han’ onz!” Oni suddenly grabbed Socara, jumped against the pedestal and propelled herself and Socara at the dragons. She opened her wings right before they hit the water and rushed towards the door.
        The dragons dove at Oni incredibly fast. “Lean right!” Oni shouted, suddenly banking to the right. At the last second she somehow flipped to the left, tricking one of the dragons. But there was still the other dragon, it had come infront of them and charged. The other dragons was there in an instant.
        Socara wasn’t sure how Oni managed to do it, but they wove and flipped amongst the savage attacks of the dragons. Suddenly, a tail lashed out from the water and hit Oni hard. She cried out and crashed into the water. Socara was flung through the door way. “Oni!” So close! she thought. The raven cawed and pointed to the water, “Oni!” Socara shouted again. Not even thinking about her own safety, she dove into the water and grabbed Oni as she was sinking. Swimming her desperately for the door, she only hoped that the dragons wouldn’t reach them first. “Come on Oni! Wake up!”
        She grabbed the ledge and threw Oni onto it, not daring to look behind her. Climbing out out quick as she could, she slammed the doors behind them. Still fearing the dragons, she picked up Oni and ran with their roars still behind her.

        Oni blinked after about an hour. Not sure where she was, she sat up, but clenched her teeth from that pain that ripped from her left wing and all the way down her arm. “Don’t move it,” Socara said, making her lie back down. “I think it’s broken.”
        “Mes suppose ta rescue u, “Oni pouted. Socara giggled, Oni smiled. “Heehee...”
        “That was amazing!” Socara exclaimed. “How did you learn to fly like that?” She sat down close to Oni. “Thanx for rescuing me by the way.” The raven landed on Socara’s shoulder. “Where have you been?” Socara scolded. “You’re not hurt either are you?”
        “OooooO...kawaii crow!!!” Oni shrieked in delight, completely forgetting her pain. “Kawaii!!”
        “Come on,” said Socara. “Let’s get out of here. It’s kinda creepy.”
        “Okies,” said Oni hopping on to her feet. “OWWIIIEEE!!!! Owwie owwie owwie!! EeeyyaaahHHHHH!”
        “Oni!” Socara shouted, making her sit back down. “You have to be careful! No jumping or running or flying. Okay?”
        “Haiiiiii...” Oni pouted.
        “Good!” Socara grinned. She helped Oni stand up and had her lean against her.
        “Wha’ ‘boutz ta trapz?”
        “Traps? What traps?”
        “U didn’t runnz inta NEtrapz?!” Oni shouted, stepping back and pointing at Socara. Socara shook her head. “O.O....”
        “Oni?!” Socara shrieked when Oni fell over twitching.

        Chaonen suddenly flung his eyes open. “No, not again...”

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